The boards of North Winnipeg and Carpathia credit unions are proposing that we unite to form a single, stronger credit union.
We are excited about the possibilities of this amalgamation — of two vibrant credit unions with rich histories in our communities coming together with a strengthened focused on the needs of members, Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community, and employees.
We sincerely hope you will share our excitement as you consider the benefits of moving forward together.
Members must approve this amalgamation proposal, at votes scheduled for mid-April. Please show your support by coming out to vote! Also be sure to attend the member information session for your credit union in early April.
Thank you to all members who came out to the information meetings April 8 and 9. Here are some of the questions you asked (that are not already fully or partly answered in the Q&A below).
Q: How will votes be calculated or counted?
A: The co-operative principle of one member, one vote applies. A member may also vote for one business or organization as well, with the proper authorization. A two-thirds majority of votes cast is required for the amalgamation to be approved.
Q: With regards to the new board, why would you have 12 members on the new board? It is strange to have an even number for a board, even for voting purposes. Why not an odd number?
A: The board chair only votes in the case of ties, which would be impossible among 11 members.
Q: Branches at Leila and McPhillips are very close. Has any thought been given to the changes to the location of the branches?
A: Both McPhillips and Leila are busy branches, and as long as they remain viable, they will remain open. However, the board and management regularly review the credit union’s strategy, competitive environment, and member usage so it is possible that the McPhillips branch could be moved to a more desirable location despite its viability.
Q: Is North Winnipeg simply being taken over by Carpathia?
A: Even though it is much smaller in size, North Winnipeg is entering this amalgamation as a partner, with more than proportional representation on the board, and with a clear honoring of its identity.
Q: Any consideration of expansion outside of the city limits, say Selkirk?
A: The board and management continually review the competitive environment as well as the changing needs of members. In today’s day and age, increasing the number of full service branches is not always necessary to provide the services that members require in the location that serves them best.
Q: There is a move towards electronic banking, but you also want to continue personal service. I am not sure if increased locations will allow you to continue providing this personalized service.
A: Excellent personal service will remain a priority at all locations. With five additional branches to choose from, North Winnipeg members will have increased access to in-person service. Members will continue to have the ability to frequent the branch that they are most comfortable and familiar with.
Q: I have a whole pile of cheques at home. How long can I use them?
A: Members can continue to use their cheques until further notification. When there are changes, we will inform our members and make the transition as seamless as possible, which would include replacement where necessary.
Q: How will banking fees be structured?
A: Fees will be standardized among what the two credit unions offer now. Decisions on things like fees will continue to be made with the goal of providing what is in the best interests of all members, which includes the fair and competitive pricing for services and requirement to keep the credit union financially viable.
Q: Will my personal banking plan/account structure remain the same after amalgamation?
A: There may be some minor tweaks once we examine the details of every product and service, but on the whole the answer is yes, your account will remain the same. Again, though, any changes we do make will be done with the best interests of all members in mind, which includes the fair and competitive pricing for services and requirement to keep the credit union financially viable.
Q: If the vote does not go in favour, how long can NWCU carry on in what was described as a challenging situation?
A: Despite being one of the smaller credit unions in Manitoba, North Winnipeg is currently stable, financially and otherwise. However, given the nature of escalating costs — particularly related to technology and compliance — amalgamation would become an inevitability at some point in the future. Pursuing this amalgamation with Carpathia gives us a far greater degree of control over our future than we might enjoy with a different partner down the road.
Q: What specific advantages will there be for me as a member after amalgamation?
A: Please review the information on the main page of http://www.cu2019.ca.
Q: Around 2,700 members at NWCU but the fate will be decided by the 100 or so members that show up at the AGM. Not a full representation. Questioned that we hopefully are doing due diligence to get everyone out.
A: We are doing our very best to reach out to as many members as possible through mailers, print and social media, as well as in-branch conversations to encourage them to come out and vote April 15 and 16.
Q: How about the rest of the management team?
A: People who are in management now at either credit union will be in the same or of equal stature positions post-amalgamation.
Q: I know that I can always get my account balance in the branch. How would it work under this new system?
A: You will be able to do that at any of the six branches, once all the back-end functionality has merged (which may take several weeks after the official date).
Q: Who is doing the analysis for the merger?
A: Analysis has been a joint exercise among senior personnel of the two credit unions.
Q: Where may I get the annual reports from both credit unions?
A: Annual reports are available on their websites.
Q: Will all deposits be guaranteed?
A: Yes, the 100% unlimited guarantee on all members deposits will remain in place.
Q: Will you still have passbook banking?
A: Passbooks will be supported for as long as the banking system supports this feature.
Q: Why do we need to amalgamate? Why can’t we just carry on as before?
A: This proposal is about positioning ourselves for the future by joining forces to build economies of scale in the areas of technology, compliance, products & services, and other core functions of our operations. It is also about increasing our capacity to respond more quickly to the rapid changes that will continue to occur in the dynamic financial services industry.
Q: Why are these two coming together?
A: The fit for these two credit unions is ideal, as we share similar values in terms of how we treat our members and employees, and how we respond to the needs of our communities. In addition to our shared bonds of association, which celebrate and reinforce Ukrainian culture, heritage and language in Winnipeg, as companies we have shared visions, philosophies and goals. Our similar organizational cultures would also enable our employees to transition into the new entity in a quick manner with little service disruption.
Q: How will this amalgamation affect the level of support for sponsored organizations and events?
A: Both credit unions have strong ties to the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg, are strong supporters and participants in the development of these communities, and the levels of support and participation in these communities will NOT be negatively affected as a result of the amalgamation. If anything, they are more likely to be ENHANCED by virtue of the increased resources of the amalgamated credit union. The combined entity would remain focused on supporting the communities we already support. In our case, there happens to be a great deal of overlap. The board is committed to maintaining current levels of support for organizations each credit union is committed to.
Q: Will any employees lose their jobs because of this amalgamation?
A: Both boards of directors have made a commitment that there will be no loss of employment for permanent full-time and part-time staff, demotions or salary cuts as a result of the amalgamation. Staff will benefit from training, compensation and career advancement opportunities they may not have had access to before.
Q: I trust the staff at the branch that I deal with. Will they continue to be there post amalgamation? (member question)
A: The same knowledgeable and friendly branch staff will continue to serve you for the foreseeable future.
Q: Where will the head office be located?
A: The location of the head office will be the existing head office of Carpathia Credit Union, located at 952 Main Street.
Q: What will the management structure look like?
A: The new credit union will be led by Nicholas Rawluk, who is currently the CEO of Carpathia Credit Union. Nicholas will work closely with Lisa Jaworsky (current CEO of North Winnipeg Credit Union) as she steps into a role on the new credit union’s Executive leadership team.
Q: What will the name be? (member question)
Q: How does this impact the name and brand of both credit unions going forward?
A: This amalgamation is about bringing together both credit unions in a manner that honours and respects the legacy of both credit unions. With this, we are happy to share that Carpathia’s name will be used alongside North Winnipeg’s logo.
Q: Where will the chairperson come from?
A: The chairperson of the Board of Directors is elected by the Board of Directors.
Q: How will the board be structured?
A: The initial twelve-member board will be composed of nine directors from Carpathia and three from North Winnipeg Credit Union.
Q: Will I still have a say in my credit union?
A: Yes, all members will continue to have a say in the new credit union. The co-operative principle of “one member, one vote” will still apply, of course, so all members have an equal say in their credit union.
Q: Would it continue as a closed-bond credit union?
A: Both credit unions are and will remain open to associate members, so the Ukrainian bond is not a barrier to membership or receiving all services available to members.
However, both credit unions are proud of their legacies as financial co-operatives for people of Ukrainian heritage in Winnipeg, and of our roles in helping maintain our language and culture, and we will continue to be proud of that role going forward.
Q: How will this combination benefit the members? Aren’t you actually reducing the competition?
A: The competition we face does not come from each other — it is from banks and other financial institutions, and it is not going away.
Q: Does this amalgamation make sense financially?
A: Yes. The benefits of sharing resources and costs in compliance, technology and other areas will be significant. A strong, healthy credit union creates longevity and stability in the communities it serves: the amalgamated credit union would be a strong component of growth in our communities.
Q: Why does the credit union have to invest in technology when I don’t do any banking on-line, and I like to conduct my business in branch?
A: While some members prefer to do all their banking in-branch, the majority prefer a combination of access in-branch and remotely, through their home computers or phones. We have both come too far to consider abandoning remote banking technology.
Q: Are we just duplicating our operating costs, by giving our members more options to conduct business (e.g., in-branch, on-line)?
A: By both credit unions providing the same services and access to accounts, yes, there is a great degree of duplication, which this amalgamation would allow us to dramatically reduce.
Q: Will our credit unions be in trouble if this amalgamation is voted down by members?
A: No. Both credit unions are strong and viable and would continue to be even if members reject this proposal.
Products & Services, Rates, Branches
Q: I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket. What is the limit of investments that are guaranteed or are my investments guaranteed? (member question)
A: All deposits, including interest, are 100% guaranteed without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM). The deposit guarantee does not cover non-deposit investments, such as mutual funds (the banks’ deposit insurance doesn’t cover these either). If you have more questions about the deposit guarantee, please visit DGCM’s website at http://depositguarantee.mb.ca/.
Q: What about the loan/mortgage I have with my credit union?
A: All loans currently held by either credit union will be transferred with no change to term, balance or interest rate.
Q: What happens with credit union Equity and Surplus Shares?
A: Surplus shares and patronage dividend programs will continue, as long as the credit union’s equity requirements are being met, and the equity members currently have will remain in the amalgamated credit union as surplus shares.
Q: Will service charges go up as a result of the amalgamation?
A: As the credit union adds new products and services, members making use of the services will pay fair rates for those services. In keeping with the past record of both credit unions, service charges will remain competitive with other financial institutions.
Q: Will my account number be affected?
A: We expect there may be changes to some account numbers, but we will not know until after the amalgamation exactly how many. Where disruption does occur, we will do everything we can to minimize it.
Q: If my account number changes, how much advance notice will I receive regarding the change? (member question)
A: If your account number will change, we would give you a great deal of notice and provide any assistance you might require to minimize the impact.
Q: Will I still be able to use my Member Card?
A: Yes, although new Member Cards will eventually be issued to all members.
Q: Will any branches be closed because of this amalgamation?
A: No branches will close as a result of this amalgamation. The practice of both credit unions will carry forward, which is that branches will remain open as long as they are financially viable.
Q: Will my branch hours of business change?
A: As has always been the case, a branch’s hours and days of operation are dependent on demand from members for the credit union’s services and management will continue to monitor hours as a matter of course.
Q: When can North Winnipeg members conduct business at Carpathia branches, and vice-versa?
A: While this amalgamation legally occurs July 1, it always takes some time, in amalgamations, to consolidate banking system information. We will not know until after the vote exactly how long it will be before members can use any of the branches, but we will continue to communicate with members throughout the process, so they will know exactly when they can start doing so.
Q: If I’m a member at both credit unions will my account be combined?
A: Yes, but we will not simply combine it. We will provide you with details of the process well in advance of any combining any accounts.
Q: I’m concerned about the privacy of my account information. Should I be concerned? (member question)
A: There is no need for concern. Our employees are fully bonded and both credit unions are subject to federal privacy legislation. This amalgamation does not change that. As with all financial institutions, keeping member/client/customer/member information confidential is not only required by law, it forms the bedrock of trust that must exist between all financial institutions and their members/clients/customers.
Q: Can I vote remotely on this proposal? (member question)
A: The credit unions’ bylaws do not allow for remote voting. To vote, one needs to attend in person.
Q: What is required for the amalgamation to proceed?
A: A vote in favor by two-thirds (66.66%) of members present at the special general meeting of each credit union is necessary to approve the proposed amalgamation.
Q: Can I vote by proxy for another member?
A: No, our bylaws do not allow proxy voting.
Q: Can I cast a vote for my community organization or business?
A: Yes, you can vote for your organization or business by downloading and printing the form for your credit union, below, having the appropriate party fill it out, and presenting it at the registration desk at the vote meeting.
The maximum number of votes a member may cast is two: one as an individual member, and one on behalf of an organization or business.
Q: Why should I vote on this proposal? I’ll just accept whatever happens.
A: Sometimes people who support something, because it makes sense to them, assume that other people will vote for it because it makes sense to them, too. That is not always the case, so we urge you to come out and vote if you believe this is the right direction for your credit union. We believe this is the right strategy for our organizations, and your vote will help make it happen.